Walk in their shoes

12 December 2017
The Straits Times, Life! Page D1

NAFA students rehearsing for movement performance Step Outta Line

Theatre students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) wear high heels on their hands and paw the air like cats, while dancers working with director Edith Podesta explore how stiletto heels and tight skirts restrict movement. What should a woman wear? How should she walk and behave? Pointed questions about beauty and feminine stereotypes are explored by artists commissioned for next year's M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, from Jan 17 to 28. This 14th edition is the first time it has been curated in response to a seminal work by a Singaporean artist, Amanda Heng's 1999 performance Let's Walk. Previous editions followed a broad theme, such as this year's Art & Skin.

Theatre students doing their Bachelor of Arts at Nafa say the festival commission they are working on, Step Outta Line, is their first exposure to Heng's work - apart perhaps from selfies taken unknowingly at museums exhibiting her art. Under the direction of theatremaker Thong Pei Qin, in a rehearsal space at the academy, 11 female students hiss at and menace the lone male in their group with high-heeled shoes on their hands and ears. They explore issues from social decorum to sexual harassment and violence against women, using texts extracted from seven published and one unpublished work by the blackly comic playwright Ovidia Yu.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.